Massachusetts judge dismisses firm’s client from medical malpractice case due to lack of personal jurisdiction

BOSTON (Aug. 3, 2011) – A Massachusetts Superior Court judge recently ruled that a diagnostic imaging facility based in Rhode Island should be dismissed from a medical malpractice case because the court lacked jurisdiction over the company.

Pamela S. Gilman successfully argued that former NFL player Tebucky Jones cannot sue their client in Massachusetts because the MRI scans conducted on Jones’ knee all occurred at its Rhode Island facility. Jones voluntarily traveled to Rhode Island for the MRI scans after allegedly injuring his knee during a 2006 preseason game while a member of the New England Patriots.

A Rhode Island radiologist interpreted the MRI scans as essentially normal and sent his report to Jones’ treating physicians in Massachusetts. Jones was later diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and an injured posterolateral ligament. Jones’ lawsuit alleges in part that treatment of his injury was delayed because of the purported misdiagnosis, effectively ending his NFL career.

The judge in her written decision concluded that the Rhode Island MRI facility’s only connection to Massachusetts was sending the radiologist’s report under its letterhead to Jones’ Massachusetts physicians. This alone, she found, is not a sufficient basis to confer personal jurisdiction. The judge determined that the MRI facility did not transact any business or render any service in Massachusetts related to Jones’ treatment. She also concluded that jurisdiction is lacking because the company does not solicit patients from Massachusetts or have any agreements with Massachusetts physicians to refer patients to it.

“We are pleased that our client has been dismissed from the case at such an early juncture,” Gilman said. “The judge’s interpretation of the constitutional aspects of personal jurisdiction and the Massachusetts long arm statute is well founded, especially in light of the limited geographic scope of our client’s business.”

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News has named the firm four consecutive years as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work (2008-2011).